T-Mobile and Sprint have already worked with some of the largest school districts in the country to quickly get internet access to students in need, including in Atlanta, New Orleans, New York City, Sacramento (Elk Grove), St. Louis and more. When DC Public Schools closed, they quickly implemented a plan to distribute technology devices for students to access schoolwork from home. The T-Mobile for Education team helped by providing 5,000 hotspots to students who lacked adequate internet access at home.
"Technology is a critical need for our students to continue their education while learning at home, and DCPS is proud to work with partners who can help us ensure that families have the resources they need in this unprecedented moment,” said DC Public Schools Chancellor Lewis D. Ferebee.
And in the hard-hit Seattle area, the Northshore school district was one of the first in the nation to attempt to solve the issue of the digital divide in the current climate. There, school administrators sprang into action, and with T-Mobile for Education, provided 850 hotspots to those students without connectivity when schools closed down, setting a standard of care for the entire nation.
“Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak and school closures, our district took steps to mitigate the inequity with regards to technology access to every student, including computing devices and hotspots at home,” said Northshore Superintendent Michelle Reid, Ed.D. “We are so grateful to T-Mobile and for the support of our voters who approved our Technology Levy so when the COVID-19 outbreak forced the closure of our schools, our families were ready with connectivity. However, we, as educators continue to have technology and internet inequity across our region and nation, making it crucial that we continue this conversation to ensure the zip code of our students doesn’t determine their access to digital learning.”
Rural area schools are at an even bigger disadvantage, with a disproportionate number of students without internet access. This includes Frederick County Public School District in Maryland, where many families do not have adequate internet access at home. T-Mobile for Education was able to help quickly provision more than 1,000 hotspots for kids who didn’t have internet at home.
And in San Francisco, one of the first areas in the country to receive a stay-in-place order, the mayor turned to organizations like the 1Million Project Foundation to fuel an innovative new approach to keeping students connected. Beginning the week of April 13, Wi-Fi SuperSpots will be placed at public housing sites, community centers and other high-density areas throughout the city to ensure San Francisco students stay connected.